Classical music giants
February 28, 2018
The symphonic great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, along with the composers who revered him — Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Arvo Pärt, and Ludwig van Beethoven — are celebrated when Music in the Mountains presents the Sacramento Philharmonic in Beethoven & Mozart, with world-renowned violinst and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky Friday at the Amaral Center, Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.
This concert is the third in an exciting new partnership forged between Music in the Mountains and the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera to continue to bring world-class performances and performers to the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada Foothills.
Russian violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky has established himself among the top artists of his generation. A sought-after recitalist and orchestral soloist throughout the world, he has also ventured into the realm of conducting and arranging, with much success. As a violinist, Sitkovetsky has worked with prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Symphony, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestras.
He has performed at the Salzburg Festival as well as the Lucerne, Edinburgh, Verbier, Ravinia and Mostly Mozart festivals. Sitkovetsky has recorded all of the major violin works, and is a committed chamber musician and recitalist; maintaining a high profile throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East.
For the last 15 years, Sitkovetsky has held the position of music director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, in North Carolina. He has also been a guest conductor, working extensively with a number of highly regarded ensembles and orchestras including San Francisco Symphony, London and Royal philharmonic orchestras, NDR Hannover, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Moscow Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, China Philharmonic, and Shanghai Symphony, among others.
"It's practically unheard of to have a musician perform and conduct an orchestra at the same time; both the musician/conductor and the orchestra need to be very on top of things for it to work," said Pete Nowlen, Music in the Mountains artistic director. "A classical work, such as a Mozart concerto, is most conducive to it and the violin is a good instrument for this sort of situation. It can be used as a baton when necessary during playing and use the bow as a baton during the orchestral segments. A performer/conductor does make for a great show for the audience, as it is so different from what we are used to seeing."
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The world of classical music owes much to the prolific output of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart was a musician capable of playing multiple instruments who started playing in public at the age of 6. Over the years, Mozart aligned himself with a variety of European venues and patrons, composing hundreds of works that included sonatas, symphonies, masses, chamber music, concertos and operas, marked by vivid emotion and sophisticated textures.
At the time of his death, Mozart was considered one of the greatest composers of all time. His music presented a bold expression, often times complex and dissonant, and required high technical mastery from the musicians who performed it.
During Friday night's concert, Sitkovetsky and the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky's Suite No.4, "Mozartiana", Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5, Pärt's Fratres, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 8. Each piece speaks to Mozart's genius and his influence.
Tchaikovsky's music in general, while romantic in theme and harmony, most often maintains a very clear and classic structure that has clear lineage to Mozart, and Mozartiana is an outgrowth of his dedication to Mozart. Inspired by many boyhood trips to Italy, Mozart infused his Violin Concerto No. 5 with enchanting forms borrowed from Italian operas and orchestral works.
Pärt expresses most clearly that Mozart is his favorite composer. Their music is frequently paired, and he has also written pieces in homage to Mozart. And finally Beethoven met Mozart in 1787, and it is said that Beethoven even took a few lessons from Mozart.
It is known that he was greatly influenced by Mozart, at times writing passages from Mozart's works into the margins of his sketches as he worked on pieces and writing a full set of 4 variations on themes of Mozart as an homage. The 8th Symphony is most in the tradition of Mozart of any of Beethoven's later symphonies in terms of orchestration and structure.
"It has been said that without Mozart there would be no Beethoven," said Nowlen. "I can't imagine classical music without either composer."
Special to the evening's events, Nowlen will host a pre-concert discussion on The Mozart Effect at 6:30 p.m. in the Lobby of the Amaral Center. During the discussion he will ponder Mozart's long shadow and the composers continued influence from Beethoven and the music of Arvo Pärt, even through today.
Nowlen will also have a teaser regarding Music in the Mountains' upcoming 2018/2019 season.
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